What to do when a child suddenly displays a marked change in behavior

When a child suddenly displays a marked change in behavior, don’t discipline or create a behavior plan immediately. Instead, find out what may have contributed to the change. Call the parents to find out what’s been happening at home, were there any recent changes or stressors, and is there any possible explanation for the behavior change.

Speak to the teachers to find out if the student is being bullied or feeling mistreated by her peers. Finally, have a chat with the child and say something like, “I noticed that you recently started… fighting with the kids in your class… It’s so not like you to do that. You haven’t done that for months. I’m wondering if something happened and your heart is hurting because of it. I want to help you.” Then wait to see how the child responds.

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